Concerned India to send Narayanan, Menon to Sri Lanka (Lead)

April 24th, 2009 - 12:19 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Amid the growing humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, India Thursday called for “an immediate cessation of all hostilities” in the island and announced that it will send two special emissaries to Colombo.
External affairs ministry official sources told IANS that the two Indian officials visiting the crisis-hit nation are National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.

“We are very unhappy at the continued killings in Sri Lanka. All killings must stop. There must be an immediate cessation of all hostilities,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a statement here.

The strongly-worded message from the Indian government came on a day the DMK-sponsored shutdown called by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi over the sufferings of the Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka crippled normal life in the state.

The exodus of Tamil civilians from the war zone has escalated into a grave humanitarian crisis even as the Sri Lankan government claimed that the Tamil Tiger rebels were about to be crushed.

Mukherjee said the “government of India has been monitoring with deep concern and anxiety the evolving situation in Sri Lanka, in particular the conditions of the Tamil civilians in the conflict zones.”

“We understand that over 100,000 civilians have emerged from the no-fire zone into areas under government control in the past three days but the lives of several thousands of innocent civilians remain threatened,” Mukherjee said.

“In order to convey these concerns to the government of Sri Lanka, the government of India has decided to send two special emissaries to Sri Lanka,” he said.

India Wednesday sent 40,000 family packs of food, clothes and toiletries for civilians who have emerged from the war zone. The relief materials are expected to reach Sri Lanka Saturday.

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